In the remote mountains of Scotland, in high-tech bunkers in South Dakota and in the lush valleys of New Zealand, small groups of determined men and women are getting ready.
They are environmentalists who fear the ravages of climate change; billionaire entrepreneurs dreaming of life on Mars; and right-wing conspiracists yearning for a lost American idyll. One thing unites them: their certainty that we are only years away from the end of civilization as we know it.
Not unconcerned himself by the possibility of the end of days, Mark O'Connell set out to meet them.
Mark O'Connell is the author of To Be a Machine (Granta 2017), which won the Wellcome Book Prize and was shortlisted for the Baillie Gifford Prize 2017. He lives in Dublin with his family. He writes for the Guardian, Slate, the New York Times and The Millions.
"Seriously funny [...] Disturbingly relevant [...] Some of O'Connell's encounters are deliciously, novelistically weird [...] The brilliance of the book, though, lies in the analysis [...] this is ultimately, surprisingly, a hopeful book [...] brilliantly done"
– Sunday Times
"A cross between Bill Bryson and David Foster Wallace [...] A fidgety, fretful but very funny book with which to while away the days in self-isolation"
"Forensic and funny, like an even more deadpan Louis Theroux, Mark O'Connell ventures into the territory of extremists and reports back with wit, moral courage and a sort of calmly appalled curiosity. This book would have been essential reading even if it hadn't coincided with what appears to be a real apocalypse [...]"
– Mark Watson
"Right on the money [...] Wonderful [...] hugely engaging"
– Book of the Week, Observer
"One hell of a funny book. A beautiful writer with a keenly honed sense of self-deprecation and the absurd, the tangents he wanders off on are just as fascinating as the subjects he meets [...] A must-read"
– Irish Independent
"Extraordinarily good – insightful, affecting, funny, and appropriately terrifying. The perfect handbook for the end times. Mark O'Connell is a truly brilliant writer and Notes from an Apocalypse could hardly be more incisive, or more timely"
– Sally Rooney
"A book that's fretful, wise and funny, and often all three in the space of a paragraph [...] O'Connell offers us hope as well as black humour. And we need that now"
– Daily Telegraph
"Personal, funny and self-deprecating [...] O'Connell has the sensibility of a poet [...] despite the ominous theme I frequently had to stop and smile or laugh outright [...] this timely book is likely to gain cult status for the response of its subject matter, the pleasure of O'Connell's lyricism and wit, and for the message"
– Irish Examiner
"A delightful peek inside the world of "preppers" gearing up for imminent disruptions to our social or political order [...] A wryly amusing tour of the end of the world"
– Financial Times
"O'Connell shows the [...] nimble ability to move between high and low registers – and the same pinpoint accuracy with a well-timed joke – as Geoff Dyer or, in his pomp, Martin Amis [...] if we are all heading down the long slide, at least with O'Connell to keep us company, we'll be laughing – and screaming – all the way"
– The Irish Times
"Anyone with open eyes lives today bound by apocalyptic fears for the future and the maddening same-ness that defines the present day. Notes from an Apocalypse is a penetrating investigation into that new uncanny, which shapes both our collective indifference and our climate rage"
– David Wallace Wells, author of The Uninhabitable Earth
"Notes From an Apocalypse is such a fantastic book. It's harrowing, tender-hearted and funny as hell. O'Connell proves himself to be a genius guide through all the circles of imagined and anticipated doom. Read it, then immediately buy a copy for your "but what's the worst that could happen?" friend'"
– Jenny Offill
"Mark O'Connell's voice is funny, charming and humane, even as he contemplates the grimmest outcomes of the 21st century climate catastrophe. Notes from an Apocalypse is funny and endlessly thought provoking, like Dante's Inferno, if Hell was full of libertarian Tech bros, YouTube survivalists and guys who are really into extreme camping"
– Colin Barrett, author of Young Skins
"Notes from an Apocalypse was poised to catch a wave, now it seems to have caught a tsunami [...] perceptive and sensitive Notes from an Apocalypse feels a redemptive read [...] hilariously absurd"
– Sunday Business Post